Ohio Judge Alison Hatheway temporarily blocked a law that would have given aborted babies a decent burial, reports say, due to the lack of clear rules for its implementation by abortion clinics and facilities.
"Without the required rules and forms in place, the plaintiffs will be forced to stop providing procedural abortions because of a real threat of sanctions and penalties independent from criminal prosecution. This substantially interferes with, if not denies, the plaintiffs' patients' rights to access abortion under the Ohio Constitution," Hatheway pointed out, as per the Associated Press.
The Associated Press said that Hatheway, who is a Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge, made the decision a day before the "fetal remains law" was set to be implemented, which Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed into law in December to ensure that human life is treated with dignity.
Hatheway, who was newly installed to her post last week, also banned the enforcement of the penalties against abortion providers that the state is provided to enforce as per the new law until 30 days after the rules have been set.
In addition, the AP revealed that the Unborn Child Dignity Act replaced an existing Ohio law that required the "humane disposal" of aborted fetuses yet did not define what "humane" meant. AP added that arguments will proceed in the lawsuit while Hatheway's temporary block is in place. This included clarifying the need for a burial permit, for the issuance of a death certificate after a burial of fetal remains, and if the existing disposal regulations on human bodies is encompassed by the new law.
AP also cited that the form required by the new law to be filed by the woman undertaking the abortion has remained unreleased. The form is to be submitted by the clinic and should indicate if the patient has been notified about the procedure of "humane disposal" and that the woman indicates what option she has chosen, that is whether it is burial or cremation.
According to the Ohio Right To Life website, the Unborn Child Dignity Act was introduced into the Ohio Senate in February 2019 by sponsor Senator Joe Uecker with the aim of promoting the "dignity of the unborn through " proper burial while strengthening Ohio's laws on informed consent" since "Deceased unborn infants deserve the same respect as other human beings."
The Ohio Right To Life website explained that the current state code "prohibits the trafficking of the products of conception" but did not specify the need to conduct a "human disposal of aborted infants." It added that the establishment of the rules for "the proper disposal of products of conception and define 'humane disposal' as earthly burial or cremation."
Pro-abortion groups, clinics, and Ohio's ACLU lawyers, as per the AP, have tagged the new law as "unconstitutional" since it is an obstruction for women to avail of legal abortion and also called it as "frivolous and medically unnecessary."
The Christian Post reported that a joint statement was released by pro-abortion groups and providers composed of the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Ohio, Preterm-Cleveland, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, and Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region. The statement celebrated the blocking of the new law as a "victory for patients."
"There is a history of aggressive enforcement against abortion providers in Ohio, and this ruling ensures that abortion providers are not vulnerable to severe sanctions, fines and penalties, including potential license revocation, during this interim period as we await final rules and regulations from the Ohio Department of Health," the statement said.
The state, however, clarified that the law is not against abortion.
"The only way that it has the effect of a ban on April 6 is under the plaintiffs' erroneous factual and legal assumption that they will have to preemptively stop all abortions because of a lack of affirmative assurances (against prosecution)," clarified Ohio Department of Health Andrew McCartney.